From a piece I started in 2006.
They came to town every summer, as certain as fireflies and afternoon storms. Just when the oppressive midsummer heat threatened to crush even the strongest among them and folks took to sitting about on porches, fanning themselves and sipping glasses of sweetened iced tea, the train arrived, energizing Cottonwood Springs for ten short days.
Word spread quickly and people crowded toward the colorful cars as the band began to play. Fathers lifted children to their shoulders, each wanting to be the first to see them and shout, “Here they come!!”
The acrobats, trapeze artists in tights, jugglers, bareback, and an assortment of clowns tumbled out into the muggy heat. Then forming up and led by the elephants who curled their trunks and trumpeted their arrival, were horses with bright ribbons braided into their manes and tails, bareback riders with tall, feathered hats, and Rodolfo the Magician. Next came the sword-thrower who brandished his sharp silver blade at a clown who came too close, causing the crowd to gasp, then cheer. The ringleader winked and smiled at all the ladies, stopping now and then to kiss a hand with a bow and flourish of his top hat, and the fire-eater twirled his flaming baton in the air. The lion tamer with the same old lion that got older and shaggier every year followed as the crowd in-step joined the parade to Miller’s field. Children danced and clapped, walked like elephants, swinging their arms like trunks and laughing with excitement.
Miss Emma and Miss Lily watched, fanning their faces against the heat, as the commotion passed their front porch at the corner of Main and Magnolia streets. Neither said anything; Miss Emma tapped her foot lightly to the sound of the music.
“Storm’s a-coming,” she commented, as the last of the crowd passed, though the arrival of a thunderstorm late in the heat of the day in Cottonwood Springs in July was nothing of note.
Miss Lily nodded. “Wonder if the old woman will come this year?” she mused.
“I expect so,” answered Miss Emma. Miss Lily sniffed.
The sky opened up with a crack of thunder and a bolt of lightning. The Magnificent Circo Cattivo had come to Cottonwood Springs again.